As Mark Twain wrote,
Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force:
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
The chart at the top of this page is propagated all over the Internet by the media and progressives, apparently to “fact check” President Trump (for something he never said, by the way). The chart seems to have originated at this link and is based upon data from a study published by the Cato Institute.
(It occurs to me that the title of the chart could as easily read, “Legal immigrants commit less crime than illegal aliens,” but I digress.)
Those opposed to a “wall” (a material barrier, i.e.) on our southern border love to cite what they call this scientific study to give the false impression that illegal aliens are, in so many words, better people than “native born” Americans.
How many times have you heard that lately?
Check out the actual study that is being erroneously cited as proof that U.S. citizens are more likely than illegal aliens to commit crimes (putting aside the obvious fact that when one is an illegal alien, one has already committed a crime. Illegal aliens are criminals in 100% of cases.)
In order to thoroughly refute this so-called “fact” (that illegal aliens are less likely than U.S. born citizens to commit crimes) might take as long as it took the author to write the study (this single study upon which progressives hang their hats). Lately, I don’t have that much time, nor the inclination, to argue with obviously biased sources of fake news. Suffice it to say that right off the bat one can easily point to numerous problems with this rather insulting allegation about “native born” citizens.
The study analysed data from just one state--Texas. However, quite erroneously, progressives and the media have generalized this one study, about people in one state, to the entire nation!
Texas is not a representative population. Therefore, statistics concerning the population of Texas cannot be extrapolated to the entire population of this country.
Texas is not a typical state when it comes to demographics. The resident population of Texas is nearly 40% Hispanic.
How different from each other, as populations go, are U.S.-born Hispanics in Texas versus illegal alien Hispanics in Texas? How similar are they?
How different are people in Texas–whether citizens, legal immigrants, or illegal aliens–from the populations of all the other states?
What about environmental differences, such as culture, religion, or rural versus urban populations? See the potential problem?
How many of the native-born Texans to whom illegal aliens are being compared are not typical U.S. citizens but are actually the children of illegal aliens, in other words birthright citizens, who would not have even been considered citizens prior to the 1960s? What’s the total population of birthright citizens in Texas? Wouldn’t that be important to know?
How scientifically accurate is it to generalize statistics about birthright citizens in Texas to the rest of the citizens of this country, especially those who are not the children of illegal aliens but are natural born citizens–the children of U.S. citizens?
What are the ages of the criminals being categorized here? Are birthright citizens who may be disproportionately males aged 15 to 25 being compared to illegal aliens who happen to be disproportionately elderly, female, and/or under age 15? Were age and sex controlled for?
Texas has a “foreign-born” population of nearly 17%. This also is not typical of other states in the Union.
The study claims that the illegal alien population of Texas in 2015 was 6.4% of the total population, also not typical of the nation.
Remember that the census doesn’t ask citizenship anymore. In fact, progressives are currently suing to prevent the Trump administration from asking about citizenship on the next census. Few government agencies ask about citizenship status–not motor vehicle departments, prisons, schools, or social service agencies. Nobody really knows for certain how many illegal aliens reside in Texas, or in the entire nation for that matter.
Any study purporting to give a rate of criminality based upon a percentage of the total illegal alien population of Texas (or any other state) is not, and cannot be, reliable.
How do researchers come up with the rate of any variable per illegal alien population? They make it up! They use estimates of the illegal alien population that are supposedly arrived at by using valid scientific methods. (In the case of the Cato study, by using self-report surveys!)
Get that number wrong and the whole bogus allegation that U.S. citizens are more prone to criminality than illegal aliens goes out the window.
Consider: Remember that the study reported that the illegal alien population of Texas in 2015 was 6.4% of the entire population. However, a very quick search turned up a Texas newspaper article that reported the illegal alien population of Texas in 2015 as 1.5 million people. The total population of Texas in 2015 was 27,695,284, according to a Texas government chart. This means that according to these figures, the illegal alien population of Texas in 2015 was closer to 5.4% of the total population.
Does it promote the popular progressive narrative if one overestimates the illegal alien population of Texas by adding more than a quarter million illegal aliens, making the rate of criminality appear lower?
The study looked at arrests and convictions. When illegal aliens commit crimes in Texas, are they always arrested and always held for adjudication of their crime(s) or are they sometimes simply deported? Just a thought.
As noted by the author of the study, it relies upon conviction and arrest statistics from the state of Texas that represent events, not the number of individual perpetrators. Doesn’t this study then compare apples to oranges? How does one separate crimes from individuals to come up with a rate per population?
Suppose a native citizen is convicted of three crimes but an illegal alien of one crime–doesn’t that skew the rate per population? I’m just askin’.
Could it be possible that illegal aliens are prosecuted and convicted of their most egregious crime and then promptly deported, whereas native citizens are prosecuted for every crime they commit?
Could there be a bias against native born citizens in Texas with regard to prosecution rates? Should this be investigated, one wonders?
Could it be that state crime statistics are incorrect given that illegal aliens often used forged documents and have numerous aliases that can make them appear (on paper) to be native citizens or legal immigrants? How did the researcher control for that possibility?
When “surveyed,” do illegal aliens self-report their illegal status? Let’s get real here.
Could it be that illegal aliens are arrested at lower rates than U.S. citizens because the illegal alien population, among whom illegal alien criminals live, are sympathetic and therefore do not report crimes committed by fellow illegal aliens to avoid their deportation? Just another thought.
Even I know that you have to control for all the variables and sort out things like correlation without causation and watch for things like “assuming that the data represents what you think it does.”
Even I know that you cannot generalize to the entire country statistics derived from one state with a very unique population, especially when it comes to illegal immigration.
Using incorrect statistics, inappropriate generalizations, and deliberately out-of-context soundbites is okay with the media so long as it promotes the progressive narrative.
We hear this everywhere–the INSULTING allegation that illegal aliens are less violent, less criminal, than U.S. citizens. This despite the fact that non-citizens and illegal aliens are disproportionately represented among the incarcerated in federal prisons.
So we know it’s a lie to state that illegal aliens commit “less crime than native-born citizens.” However, even if it were true, does this mean that it’s fine to allow people (nonviolent or not) to break illegally into our country?
Would progressives prefer a trade? We could do that, actually.
Since their argument is that U.S. citizens are more likely to be criminals than illegal aliens, then let’s just trade our native-born convicted criminals for the proven non-criminal, nonviolent, productive citizens of the foreign countries that contribute to us the greatest number of illegal aliens.
How would that plan work for progressives?